A Woodford resident is engaged in a dispute with Redbridge council over a tree, but it’s a dispute with a difference.
Where councils have in the past been accused of excessive enthusiasm for chopping down trees, Redbridge wants to issue a Tree Protection Order (TPO) on a mature yew in the borough. The tree is in the resident’s front garden and they want to cut it down to clear the way for an extension to their house.
Boris Johnson pledged thousands of new trees for the capital back in 2008 and Redbridge played host to the mayor himself in January when 10,000 trees were planted in Roding Valley Park. Other London councils appear to be chopping them down nearly as fast as they can be planted though – Kingston, Islington and Wandsworth have all found themselves facing residents’ wrath over felling. Subsidence, slippery paths caused by leaf fall and damage to overhead wires have all been at the root of councils’ urge to whip out their chainsaws.
The Woodford case demonstrates that some councils are at least trying to prevent householders from denuding the area of inconvenient foliage. Whether or not TPOs should be issued for trees on private land is a matter for debate.